As you read from Ed Cunnington, chair of the Succession Planning Team, this summer the congregation will engage in a self-study process as part of the transition time in anticipation of Tim’s retirement and in preparation for welcoming Westminster’s next Senior Pastor. The Ministry and Mission Study (MMS), as it is referred to, invites the congregation to discern God’s call for present and possible developing ministries. It will assist the congregation in knowing where we have been, where we are, and where God is leading us into the future. This awareness will help inform the eventual work of the Pastoral Nominating Committee. We are grateful for Co-chairs Leigh Niebuhr and Gretchen Musicant, along with the strong committee they have assembled, for their faithful leadership.
The time of transition certainly encourages this reflective study, but as we gain a better understanding of what it means to be a post-pandemic community of faith, the MMS will create ways to evaluate new and newly apparent community needs and realities. The MMS will ask you to consider questions, such as:
- What are the pastoral needs of the congregation?
- How does the congregation feel called to engage in the spiritual formation of its members and the community?
- Who are the church’s neighbors and what are their needs? • How might our listening help shape the ministries of the church going forward?
- Have there been significant changes in the congregation or in the communities Westminster serves?
Too often, congregations engaging in this self-study exercise are doing so in a time of conflict or upheaval over a pastor’s departure. We rejoice that this is not the case for Westminster, that there is much to celebrate as the congregation gives thanks to God for Tim’s long tenure and leadership in the church and beyond. That said, the MMS will encourage the congregation to listen, learn, pause, and prepare, all of which will build a strong foundation for the coming search process. There is great momentum in the movement of the Spirit in our worship and shared life together! As part of that energy, I invite you to be an active participant in the coming Ministry and Mission Study to offer your voice, wisdom, and perspective!
Grace and peace,
Senior Associate Pastor